Baixa Pombalina

A particularly elegant district of Lisbon, the Lower Town was among the world's first earthquake-resistant constructions.

TravelCurious Tip

Head to Tágide near Commerce Square for a outstanding meal with a glorious view across Lisbon’s downtown area from an 18th century townhouse

One of Lisbon’s most elegant districts, Baixa Pombalina was built after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake razed most of the city to the ground. It is named after Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the 1st Marquis of Pombal and Prime Minister of Portugal for twenty seven years, who played a key role in rebuilding the city.

Lesson Learned

The Baixa Pombalina is renowned as one of the first examples of earthquake-resistant urban planning. Not a bad idea, since Lisbon has been hit by a number of severe earthquakes over the centuries. Under the Marquis’s instruction, architectural models were tested by having cohorts of soldiers marching around them to simulate tremors.

Among the innovations introduced were the Pombaline Cage, a symmetrical wood-lattice framework that helps safely distribute the force from tremors through a structure, and walls between terraces that are built higher than the roof timbers, thus reducing the spread of subsequent fires.

A Word of Thanks

Stretching between the Tagus River and Avenida da Liberdade, as well as bordering the Alfama district, the Baixa district is absolutely central to Lisbon life. It is the shopping and banking district of the city, as well as one of its most prized tourist spots.

There are few better places for a walk and a coffee. You can stroll around Commerce Square and Rossio Square, marked by beautiful Rossio Train Station and the Dona Maria II National Theatre, and then pass by Marquis de Pombal Square, for a word of thanks to the man who built this lovely quarter.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Lisbon
Rossio Square
One of Lisbon's main squares since the Middle Ages, Rossio was destroyed and reconstructed after the great 1755 earthquake.
Santa Justa Lift
This urban elevator from 1902 connects the lower street of Baixa with Carmo Square.
Figueira Square
Placed in the re-urbanised area of Lisbon Baixa, Figueira Square is today one of the main hubs of the city's transport system.
Rossio (praça dom Pedro IV)
Commence your tour at the Pedro IV Square in the city of Lisbon.
Igreja de São Domingos
Trace this national monument's tumultuous history and learn about Lisbon's natural disasters, which rocked the foundations of this church in both 1531 and 1755.
Igreja do Carmo
The final traces of the medieval Carmo Convent, which was almost entirely destroyed after the 1755 earthquake.

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